Jesus begins His earthly ministry in the company of two young lovers, and by His presence gives the pledge of God to marriage (John 2:1-11). It is His intention to be identified with people, and if with them in their sorrows, why not in their joys and legitimate pleasures?
But vexing problems can arise, even in the presence of Jesus. It is so on this occasion. The dilemma? There is no more wine. The celebration of life and love threatens to become the disaster of the empty cup. The cup is empty, and no human hand can fill it.
Is it not the same in the life of the soul. We allow the happiness of our first love for God to dribble away. The enthusiasm we once had for reading the Word of God vaporizes. The refreshment of prayer and meditation, which once seemed so necessary to growth in grace and in a deepening knowledge of the Savior, drains into dullness. The cup is empty.
The calamity of the empty cup brings a worried Mary to her son. After a brief exchange, Jesus leaves His mother and the celebrants. At the entrance are six stone pitchers. The instructions of Jesus are cryptic. “Fill the pitchers. Take a sample to the head of the house.” The directions are followed, and the miracle happens. When the water/wine is tasted by the governor of the feast he announces rather headily, according to The Living Bible, “This is wonderful stuff!”
The presence of Christ makes all the difference. He changes the lower into the higher, the poorer into richer, the sour into sweetness, the spiky Mosaic law into the congenial law of liberty, the baptism of John into the baptism in the Spirit. The new wine of God’s kingdom bursts the old wineskins of Judaism filled with the water of ritualism.
Perhaps Mary is our mentor. What she told the servants is the message we too should hear: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). If the poor water of our lives is to be transformed into the rich wine of love and service, and if the soul’s cup is to overflow with a divine infilling, then entire obedience to Christ’s will is required. “Whatever” means exactly what it says.
There must be not only entire obedience, but also exclusive obedience. It is “whatever He tells you.” Other influences will try to trespass in the holy places of our heart. But it is what God in Christ by the Spirit says that must be obeyed. And obedience must be not only entire and exclusive, but it must be specific.
“Do whatever He tells you.”
Arnold Brown, With Christ at the Table